This Week in Android: Jul 29th – Aug 4th

Last week we had Nexus 7s and Chromecasts. This week, the fun rolls on with Kindle Fire rumours and Google Glass expansion. Let’s take a look at what’s been going on!

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Moto X Revealed

Motorola’s long-awaited flagship smartphone, Moto X, was finally revealed this week.

The Moto X features a 4.7-inch 720p display with a 1.7GHz dual-core X8 Mobile Computing System and 2GB of RAM under the hood (and, yes, that’s the same X8 in Verizon’s new lineup of Droids). The phone will come in 16GB and 32GB varieties, and will feature a 10-megapixel shooter on the rear, joined by a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

The Moto X. Image courtesy of The Verge.

The Moto X. Image courtesy of The Verge.

However, the hallmark feature of the Moto X is customisability, with owners being able to choose from a variety of colour and texture options for individual parts of the phone, including the front and back panels, volume buttons and camera bezel. Furthermore, the phone runs a near-unskinned version of Android, without Motorola’s traditional software customisation.

The Moto X will be available in the United States for $199.99 with a new contractual commitment on AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and US Cellular, though AT&T will be the only carrier available for phones with the aforementioned significant user customisation. A Google Edition variant is planned to launch in the Google Play store too.

Google Glass Owners Get Friend Invites

Members of Google’s Glass Explorer program are soon going to be able to invite up to a grand total of one friend into the program, expanding the availability of everyone’s favourite $1,500 wearable computer.

Owners of the Google Glass Explorer Edition have begun receiving emails this week detailing a sole invite which can be used for a friend to purchase one of their own, although the $1,500 price tag and requirements of US residency and age remain.

The email Glass owners are receiving this week, courtesy of The Verge.

The email Glass owners are receiving this week, courtesy of The Verge.

Those of us without a Glass-equipped friend can at least enjoy this as the further step towards an eventual wider launch that it is.

Kindle Fire Rumours

Rumors of the next generation of Kindle Fires became headlines this week, with “multiple trusted sources” to BGR claiming that Amazon will launch a new lineup this fall with specifications significantly superior to that of Google’s recently-unveiled Nexus 7.

In the report, an upcoming refresh of the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD is said to feature a 1920 x 1200px display with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC under the hood, “which includes four Krait 400 CPUs and Adreno 330 graphics.” The device is also said to feature 2GB of RAM and storage options of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Internal prototypes are said to be running Android 4.2.2 with Amazon’s skin, although it’s naturally possible the newly-revealed Android 4.3 could be implemented in the time until release.

Kindle Fire, your time is fast approaching.

The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD is also set to receive updates, with the same report claiming usage of the same Snapdragon 800 processor and an upgrade to a 2560 x 1600px display, 2GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera.

Other Updates

  • Microsoft expanded availability of Office Mobile to Android this week, offering the same set of basic editing tools available in Office for iPhone. The app links in to Microsoft’s Office 365 subscription service, and does not currently support a native tablet interface. The app is available through Google Play.
  • Google has launched a TV show catalogue on Google Play in the United Kingdom, ahead of an international rollout for Chromecast. Standard pricing for non-HD episodes is £1.89, in line with iTunes, although comparisons of randomly picked shows The Walking Dead, Luther and Top Gear showed Google generally offered lower full-season pricing than Apple.
  • Facebook this week updated their flagship Android app to include the Cover Feed lock screen replacement, removing the need for Home but maintaining the same hardware requirements.

Check in next week for another instalment of This Week In Android!